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Sheryl & Scott Crosier treasured their son, Simon

Sheryl & Scott Crosier lost their son, Simon, to a secret DNR placement

“Simon’s Law” is named for a medically fragile baby born with Trisomy 18 and apnea (breathing difficulty), who died when resuscitation was denied.

His devastated parents, Sheryl and Scott Crosier, only learned later that Simon’s hospital chart contained a DNR [Do Not Resuscitate] that was never discussed, much less permitted by them. They have mounted a grassroots crusade to alert parents and enact this law to protect parents’ rights.

Simon’s Law has the support of numerous pro-life medical groups and professionals, as well as other families who discovered (after the fact) that they also lost a child to a secretly-placed DNR. (see here)

Unfortunately, the medical climate is not tilted in the Crosiers’ favor. A survey of pediatricians last year found that up to 73% of them would issue DNRs without parental permission to children with severe, life-limiting conditions.

Sheryl was recently contacted by a Texas mom with the disturbing account that her 18-month-old son went to the hospital with RSV (a rather common illness) and the hospital tried to place a DNR in the toddler’s chart! The child had no other medical problem or condition but the RSV.

Simon’s Law will insure that DNRs will not be issued unilaterally by physicians and hospitals. All parents need this law–and not only those whose children might be medically discriminated against as lacking “quality of life.”

Brenda Spurlock & Son Zach with Sheryl Crosier

Brenda & Zach Spurlock with Sheryl Crosier(r) support Simon’s Law

KANSAS TESTIMONY
The following is the story of a Kansas mom, with special needs children, who came to testify in favor of Simon’s Law.

Seven and a half years ago, a medically fragile baby boy, Zachariah, was born in a Kansas hospital.

He lacked a significant portion of his skull, and a portion of his brain had developed into a separate sack attached to the back of his head.

Due to those challenges, his hospital chart contained a do-not-resuscitate order (DNR).

A few days after his birth, Zach suffered a long period of apnea and because of the DNR, he was removed from monitors, wrapped in a blanket, and handed to his biological mother to die.

Several minutes into the episode, baby Zach self-resuscitated. At that point his young parents asked medical personnel to do all they could for him.

Zach was alive, but needed to remain hospitalized. His unmarried mom had been matched by the perinatal experts at Alexandra’s House in Kansas City with a “mentor,” Brenda Spurlock, to support her during the pregnancy and afterwards.

Brenda had experience navigating a complicated NICU situation as her own daughter, Tatum, had also been born with a sac bulging from the back of her head. In addition, Tatum had been given a “fatal” diagnosis of Trisomy 18, which included neurological and physiological defects.

As Zach approached one month of age, his birth mom felt increasingly unequipped to care for him. Brenda and her husband Jack adopted Zach, welcoming him into their family of seven children.

Zach & Tatum Spurlock

Zach & Tatum Spurlock

CHILDREN EXCEED DIRE DIAGNOSES
Brenda Spurlock came to the Kansas Capitol Feb.16th to testify in support of Simon’s Law. She told the Senate Federal & State Affairs Committee:

     “We were warned Zach’s life would be very short. In fact, we were told he would likely not live out the month and that the best case scenario was a 3-5 year life span, fraught with life threatening seizures and bouts of pneumonia. We were also warned he would exist in a semi-vegetative state.

Yet he has never suffered a single seizure, nor has he ever experienced a bout of pneumonia. 

The portion of his brain that was removed was thought to contain his visual cortex and we were told he would be blind, but he sees! 

He has cerebral palsy, autism, profound global delays, and hemiplegia on the right side of his body. But he is a delight. He does not know a bad day, only a bad moment, and then he puts that award winning smile back on his face and marches on! 

Our daughter, Tatum, has had full genetic testing and her particular chromosomal tripling has never before been documented or journaled. Her life was judged by an unknown…and they were wrong! Tatum has far surpassed any of the prenatal and postnatal prognoses that were given to us, and on February 10 she celebrated her 9th birthday.

When we adopted Zach, we removed the DNR that had been placed in his medical records. 

I think every parent of a medically-fragile child should be aware of the choice to sign a DNR for their child, and I would hope that choice could be offered tactfully. But I stand firmly against medical professionals making a life choice for an infant or child based on a prenatal diagnosis, or set of tests.”

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Sen. Jacob LaTurner, chair of Senate Federal & State Affairs committee, with Zach & Brenda Spurlock

Today’s hearing on “Simon’s Law” in the Kansas Senate Federal & State Affairs committee room was a tale of two little boys.

One dear boy, Simon, was alive only in cherished memories detailed to the committee. Another, Zach, –whom medical experts claimed would never be more than a “vegetable”—jiggled and squirmed in his seat and would smile at various people in the room, and say “Hi!”

Baby Simon

Baby Simon

Today, Sheryl Crosier was the key witness as Kansas renews consideration of Simon’s Law, SB 85. Simon’s Law passed the Senate 37-3 last spring but didn’t get through the House process in time to become law. Thus hearings started anew this year. Simon’s Law preserves the rights of parents in the issuance of “Do Not Resuscitate ”(DNR) orders to minors.

Sheryl very poignantly recounted (or, perhaps more accurately, relived) how her baby son, Simon, died six years ago in front of her and her husband, Scott, at the hospital where he had lived his entire young, three months of life.

Simon & family

Simon Crosier with family

After the heartbreak of burying their child, the Crosiers discovered that the reason baby Simon was dead was because, without their permission, a “Do Not Resuscitate” (DNR) order had been placed in his medical chart.  The bad news mounted: the hospital had a written “futility” policy concerning when life-sustaining procedures would not be given.

Simon had been diagnosed with Trisomy 18 disorder three days after birth. For many years, such children were immediately labeled as having a lethal condition, and were not treated. The medical community is slowly starting to abandon labeling children like Simon as “incompatible with life,”  according to a brand new article this week that appears in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association.)

Thus began the Crosiers’ crusade to alert parents, especially those with medically fragile children, that a death by secret DNR could happen to them.

Along the way, other parents, researchers and doctors have joined in the crusade to pass Simon’s Law.

The case was strongly made in committee today with a large number of proponents, including Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, who is a surgeon. Four medical groups have supported Simon’s Law since last year. The committee will “work” the bill for passage as early as this coming Monday.

tatum-and-zach

Tatum & Zach Spurlock outstripped “expectations”

The truly beautiful side note to the hearing was the presence of a boy who has far outstripped his “expectations.” Kansans Jack & Brenda Spurlock, whose nine- year-old daughter Tatum has outlived her “fatal” diagnosis of Trisomy 18, came to the Capitol to testify for Simon’s Law.

Tatum was not present today, due to the flu, but her brother, 7 1/2 year-old Zach, melted the hearts of the whole room.

Zach was born without a significant portion of his skull, and with a large occipital encephalocele that contained a portion of his brain. He was predicted to have seizures and other afflictions his whole life. Not so! Zach stayed throughout the one-hour hearing, exhibiting “best behavior.” 

The committee truly witnessed the joy of  a life that has too often been labeled as not worth sustaining, and the tragedy of taking a life due to preconceived “quality of life” judgments.

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The Electoral Colletrump-v-hillary-rip-baby-9th-monthge votes were officially cast today, making Donald Trump and running mate, Mike Pence, the next U.S. President and VP by a tally of 304-228. All six GOP Kansas electors voted for Trump/Pence. The results will be finalized Jan. 6, 2017, with the inauguration two weeks later.

For the first time ever, the 2016 election was clearly a referendum on abortion. Political parties and their presidential candidates publicly staked out totally opposite positions–unlike past campaigns in which most candidates tried to minimize positions on controversial issues.

Hillary Clinton made abortion-on-demand a cornerstone issue of her 2016 campaign: abortion available at any time up until delivery, and at taxpayer’s expense by eliminating the Hyde amendment. And despite the national furor over the sale of aborted baby parts to the highest bidder, Clinton wanted to expand taxpayer funding to America’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.

The nation heard an authentic horror in Trump’s words during the Oct. 20, 2016 national presidential debate:

Well I think it is terrible. If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month you can take [the] baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby. Now, you can say that that is okay and Hillary can say that that is okay, but it’s not okay with me. Because based on what she is saying and based on where she’s going and where she’s been, you can take [the] baby and rip the baby out of the womb. In the ninth month. On the final day. And that’s not acceptable.

The remaining commentary below comes from National Right to Life Committee Executive Director, David O’Steen, featured in the December edition of NRL News Today:

“Donald Trump gave 100% pro-life answers to National Right to Life’s questions, met with pro-life leaders of National Right to Life and made campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, a strong, well known pro-life advocate, a public face of his campaign. At the same time Hillary Clinton made seemingly countless appearances at Planned Parenthood events pledging over and over her fealty to their abortion agenda.

In the their third debate President–elect Trump made what were perhaps the strongest pro-life statements ever made by a candidate to a national audience and called out Hillary Clinton on her past Senate vote in favor of partial–birth abortion. Clinton countered by continuing to defend her support for legal partial birth abortion, undoubtedly thinking that was a winning ticket. How wrong she was.

POLLS: 13% ADVANTAGE TO PRO-LIFE POSITION
A national poll of voters taken on election day, November 8, by the polling company Inc./Woman Trend found that essentially half of all voters (49%) said that abortion affected their vote. How did they vote – 31% said they voted for candidates who opposed abortion while only 18% said they voted for candidates who favored abortion – a 13% advantage for the pro-life side. When you think how close the vote was in Pennsylvania and other states which determined the election, it is clear that abortion made a clear difference in the election.baby-vote-prolife

The poll results also clearly reflected the heavy involvement of National Right to Life and its political action committees, the National Right to Life PAC and the National Right to Life Victory Fund. Fully 29% of voters recalled hearing, seeing or receiving information from National Right to Life and 17% recalled hearing, seeing or receiving information from a state right to life group such as an NRLC affiliate.

National Right to Life and its political action committees mailed 3.3 million pieces of literature, made 5 million phone calls, sent 3 million e-mails and reached 9.2 million through social media, many of whom undoubtedly shared, reposted and retweeted National Right to Life’s information.

All in all National Right to Life’s PACs were actively involved in 58 federal campaigns, winning 48 (83%) of them.

Yes, there was a referendum on abortion on November 8. Hillary Clinton lost and Donald Trump won – but unborn children won also.”

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Auditioners read ECHO scripts

Auditioners read ECHO radio scripts

Movie animators take great care to find just the right voices to “match” their painstakingly-drawn characters. Kansans for Life similarly took great care to cast just the right voice for our new radio spots in which an unborn child “talks” about life in the womb.

This summer, numerous delightful girls and boys, age 6-10, came to our Wichita office to audition to be the voice of “ECHO, an unborn child.” The kids had a good time, although reading and rereading a “script” with emphasis, clarity, and the right lilt in the voice was probably a bit harder than they anticipated.

Our new one-minute radio segments featuring “ECHO, the unborn child” began appearing yesterday across the state on many secular and Christian stations. We are getting many compliments on the approach and pray that thousands of listeners will think about the marvels of an unborn child in a fresh way. Here’s an excerpt:

“Hello, it’s me, “Echo”… your favorite little friend coming to you from inside my mother’s womb. She calls it a “womb,” but it’s more like my room, complete with my very own hot tub. Most of the time in here, I’m just kicking back… literally. I’m trying to outmaneuver the sonogram paparazzi. That’s why I call myself ECHO– Sonograms! Imagine… a bunch of giants trying to get a look at your private parts, just so they’ll know whether to buy pink baby clothes or blue ones…”

The concept of hearing an endearing “voice from the womb” in the middle of your regular radio broadcast is the brainchild of David Gittrich, Kansans for Life State Development Director.

david-gittrich

David Gittrich

David became involved in the pro-life movement 36 years ago after his friend dragged him to see the film, “Assignment: Life.” At that time, sonograms were just beginning to be available, and the images were pretty grainy. In the film, the late Dr. Jack Willke describes the baby developing in the womb, shows beautiful pictures of the unborn child and then challenges the audience, “Who would want to kill a baby you can see?”

That line made a lasting impression on David. He has a deep commitment to reminding Kansans that the most precious natural resource that we need to protect is our unborn children. One of his aims in this project is to personalize the child in the womb to the casual radio listener, without any reference to abortion.

Although 4-D ultrasounds are now ubiquitous, the ECHO project allows the radio audience to “see” in a new way—by listening to the baby’s voice– the marvelous developments and abilities of the child in the womb.

This is one more way we can build a society in which abortion is unthinkable.

Read details about the ECHO project here.

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mother-teresa-babyAs the world watches Hillary Clinton clawing for the title of president, urging limitless abortion with full tax-funding, they will also see Mother Teresa being canonized Sunday. The comparison could not be more striking.

Hillary has spent her entire life chasing political power at the expense of the unborn; Mother Teresa gave her entire life in selfless service of the poor and vulnerable. Breitbart news reports:

“As Pope Francis canonizes Mother Teresa, we will also be reminded that the most vulnerable among us are the voiceless unborn children who can be legally eliminated at any moment, whom Mother Teresa fought valiantly to defend and whom Hillary is committed to forgetting.”

22 years ago, Mother Teresa spoke passionately against abortion in her address to 3,000 guests at the Feb. National Prayer Breakfast. Afterwards, the applause and a standing ovation lasted  nearly six minutes, with one conspicuous exception:  at the head table, a few feet away from Mother Teresa, President Bill and Hillary Clinton and Vice-President Al and Tipper Gore, sat in stony silence, neither clapping, nor standing.

Mother Teresa had not pressed for the politically correct call for more government involvement in fighting poverty. She spoke pointedly about the unborn child as truly the poorest of the poor, and deserving of our protection from abortion.

In contrast,

  • One year earlier, Hillary had urged her husband Bill on the very first day of his presidency to sign five executive orders authorizing federal funding for abortion, galvanizing the U.S. government’s sordid partnership with Planned Parenthood.
  • Seven months after the Prayer Breakfast, Hillary sent a virulent pro-abortion delegation to work against Mother Teresa at the Cairo Conference on Population and Development, attempting to coerce the world into accepting abortion as a basic human right.
  • This past January, America’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, endorsed Hillary for President with an unprecedented $20 million donation.

Mother Teresa’s entire 1994 speech  (transcript here) is inspiring, but here are the most pertinent abortion sentiments:

“I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?

By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And, by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion.

Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.

But what does God say to us? He says: “Even if a mother could forget her child, I will not forget you. I have carved you in the palm of my hand.” We are carved in the palm of His hand; that unborn child has been carved in the hand of God from conception and is called by God to love and to be loved, not only now in this life, but forever. God can never forget us.”

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"the Hand of Hope" photo by Michael Clancy, 1999

“the Hand of Hope”by Michael Clancy, 1999

Six states have now banned brutal and inhumane abortions that dismember fully formed unborn children.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed into law “the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act” last Friday, joining — in order– Kansas, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Alabama, whose citizens embraced the necessity of passing this model legislation provided by the National Right to Life Committee.

In coverage of this law, most outlets, particularly  the Associated Press, refuse to even use the term “dismemberment” which is defined in this legislation.  Also unsurprisingly, the media  never challenge abortion supporters to defend the appalling savagery of slicing a living unborn baby to pieces.

Yet, even with biased media coverage, the public understood the gruesomeness of sharp metal tools tearing apart the tiny limbs of well-developed children while in their mothers’ wombs.

A majority of Americans who increasingly describe themselves as pro-life know that abortion is not done on a blob of tissue. Many of them confirmed that understanding after seeing a famous photo of a little hand reaching out of his mother’s womb.

That milestone photograph is called  “The Hand of Hope” taken Aug. 19, 1999 by Michael Clancy. The photo took the world by storm when it first appeared in USA Today on Sept. 7, 1999. The tiny hand of Samuel Armas, at 21weeks gestation, is captured grasping the skilled hand of the doctor performing innovative surgery to correct spina bifida. All this occurs while Samuel was still in his mother’s womb.

“I could see the uterus shake violently and then this little fist came out of the surgical opening,” Clancy recalls. “It came out under its own power. When Dr. Bruner lifted the little hand, I fired my camera and the tighter Samuel squeezed, the harder Dr. Bruner shook his hand.”

Gov. Brownback

Gov. Brownback

Gov. Sam Brownback remarked about that photograph in his May 5, 2015 letter commemorating the signing of the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act in Kansas:

“What a visually impactful moment: the delicate, miniscule hand with each finger and nail, trustingly holding on to the doctor. There is little debate over whether the child in utero is alive; the debate is over whether or not the child is a life worthy of protection.

Clancy’s lens encapsulates so much meaning in that one shot: a vulnerable, functioning, unborn child, not yet ready to survive outside of his mother who nevertheless lies completely at the mercy of the physician’s medical talent—and ethics.

Clancy says he was “pro-choice” before the snapshot, but not afterwards.

He recognized in that one critical moment what was actually at stake in abortion—not a “choice” but a unique and unrepeatable human individual connected to the human community.

Truly, the unborn child developing in the safety of his mother’s womb is absolutely at the mercy of the laws regulating physicians. Preserving the dignity of that relationship between the mother, child and physician dictated that six states prohibit barbaric dismemberment method abortions.

All pro-lifers who have worked so hard to enact the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act —and those in other states yet to do so– would no doubt agree with this thought from Gov. Brownback’s letter:

“Protection is at the heart of this law. Protection of an actively developing baby with his or her unique DNA, and who can be seen thumb-sucking, hand-waving, and smiling in routine sonography. A defenseless child with so much potential.”

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Heart stethPro-lifers across the nation have been reading our series of articles on the “Faces & Facts of Simon’s Law,” and are urging Kansas to protect children and empower parents by enacting this vital measure.

The state legislature returns to work Wednesday following a short recess. The Kansas Senate has already passed SB 437, Simon’s Law, by a notable bipartisan 37-3 vote last month. The bill will prevent minors from being denied life-sustaining treatment without parental permission and will require, upon request, disclosure of hospital policies on “futile care.”

Recently, four medical associations have published their strong support for Simon’s Law, see here. The following are some excerpts from their endorsements:

  • ACPEDSThe American College of Pediatricians informs that, “Once inconceivable, the practice of hospital staff placing a do not resuscitate (DNR) order on a child’s chart without the informed consent of the child’s parents or legal guardian is on the rise… increasingly predicated upon the ill-defined and subjective concept of ‘quality of life’ with one or more disabilities considered intolerable.”
  • AAPSThe Association of American Physicians & Surgeons writes, “care judged by some to be ‘futile’ is often life-saving, even if it does not restore full function… [When] there is a time when medical intervention provides no benefit, it is unethical and should be unlawful for a medical facility to determine that point unilaterally.”
  • NAPNThe National Association of Prolife Nurses asserts that parents have “a right to full disclosure and participation in the healthcare decisions of their disabled or severely ill children.”
  • The Kansas City (Kansas/Missouri) Guild of the Catholic Medical Association believes Simon’s Law “recognizes the right practice of medicine… the sacredness of life and the primary role Cath guildparents have in caring for a child. [F]acilities or practitioners cannot and should not determine that a patient’s life is no longer deserving of medical care.”

These medical group endorsements acknowledge that DNRs are very often being issued due to negative judgments about the kind of life the child will live—not upon a medical assessment of impending death. In shorthand, such judgments about ‘futility’ are qualitative, not physiological.

The families that submitted testimony for Simon’s Law recounted that too many medical personnel clearly viewed their child as a victim of disabilities, without a rewarding life–a view that the family vigorously disputed.

Neonatologist McCaffrey

Dr. McCaffrey

Neonatologist Martin McCaffrey regularly treats severely ill infants and counsels many families about Trisomy 18 and other related chromosomal conditions. He advises:

“ A medical team using its subjective prediction of future quality of life as criteria to make life and death decisions,and  forcing that determination is a tyrannical enforcement of prejudice towards children with disabilities.

The case which prompted Simon’s Law legislation is a prime example of such bias.

It is my sincere hope that Simon’s Law will pass. The only physicians and hospitals that would be impacted by this legislation are those employing unilateral [orders not to resuscitate].”

Knowledgeable medical groups and individuals agree that Simon’s Law is a necessary corrective measure.

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